The steady growth of urbanisation in Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has been an issue of concern for sometime. In this context, Central Department of Statistics (CBS) under Tribhuvan University disseminated a report on population polarisation at KMC, based on an investigation in ward numbers 14 and 34, here on Monday.

“This study will be a tremendous help for formulating plans for the planning team of Kathmandu municipality,” said Keshav Sthapit, mayor of KMC, informing that the road mapping and house numbering will be completed within six months.

The influx of immigrants who migrated between the third century and eighteenth century later emerged as ‘Newars’ and have been considered the native population of Kathmandu.

The process of Newarisation of in-migrants stopped after Gorkha King Prithivi Narayan Shah replaced the Malla rulers of Kathmandu valley in mid-eighteenth century. Though Newar culture and traditions were kept intact, the process of discouraging the flow of in-migrants was continued by the successive rulers until the new government was formed in 1951 abandoned the policy of closed Kathmandu.

“The abandonment of policy of closed Kathmandu and introduction of various development programmes gave impetus to migration process in Kathmandu,” said Professor Dr Mrigendra Lal Singh, principle investigator of the research team, presenting the report. “Since then the population of Kathmandu city has been increasing steadily unto 1971, then rapidly from that period on.”

The growth in population has also resulted into growth in its spatial area. The area of Kathmandu city, which was 2.74 square kilometres in 1952/54, has increased to 5. 76 square kilometres in 1991.

The survey conducted in two fringe wards namely 14 and 34 indicated that over 60 per cent of the houses in ward 14 and over 7 per cent in ward 34 had more than one dwelling unit. Over 9 per cent dwelling units in both wards were found to be occupied by nuclear families. Meanwhile, maximum numbers of dwelling points were found to be occupied by hill Brahmins.

While male population exceeded females in both wards, the age distribution was found to be different from average age distribution for the country as a whole. For the age group of 0 to 15, the percentage observed was 26, 15 per cent less than 41 per cent observed in the country. On the other hand, the percentage at the age group of 16 to 30 revealed 39 per cent, 12 per cent higher than 27 per cent observed for all Nepal.

“The high number of people between the age group of 16 to 30 suggests that we need to consider formulating plans for employment opportunities,” said Dr Bhanu Niraula, UNFPA country representative.

The report has concluded that if proper attention is not paid to provide basic needs to immense growth of population right now, the city may soon turn out to be one of the most ugly and unmanageable cities of the world.

“The silver lining in this regard is that most of the in-migrants are living in rented dwellings and many are here in temporary basis. If the government launches local-level planning at the sources of these in-migrants by mobilising natural and human resources, many are likely to return to their original places,” states the report.

Considering practical trainings a vital aspect of any course, Central Department of Statistics, under Tribuvan University, has been offering a regular training in research methodology in social activities since last three years.